The Iglesia de Cristo Iberoamericana Samborondon no longer meets in the Centinela school yard! We have our official meeting place and it is lovely!
We had a special evening service to inaugurate the new house of prayer. As my dad is always quick to point out, a building is not the church because we are the church. We all dressed up and invited friends and family and some special guests. We all gathered outside as the sun was lowering in the sky, waiting for the ribbon-cutting ceremony before going in.
Some of the kids got tired of standing and so found seats on the front step guarding the door.
Pastor Jose and his wife Lupe had the honor of cutting the ribbon.
Chilean missionary Samuel and others shared about how the church building was once just a dream and now finally a reality. People shared testimonies about how the church has impacted them. It’s awesome to see how the church has impacted lives, especially through the kids outreach.
Pastor Jose had guest pastors and missionaries come forward and pray. As Solomon did when he dedicated the temple in Jerusalem, they prayed in thanksgiving and dedication to the Lord.
It was a wonderful time of celebration in song, sharing stories and prayer. Over 100 adults were in attendance, many of which are neighbors who don’t currently attend the church. What an opportunity!
The kids were not amused with the boring adult service, so Lupe, in true Lupe fashion, took the kids across the street and led them in some song and dance.
My friend Monica from Downey First Christian Church is in Ecuador doing a two-month internship! We were up to our usual shenanigans after the service taking silly pictures. We were just missing my sister, Sarah, to join in on the guitar.
So, we had Fanny and Amy join our airband photo session. Fanny and her husband Gustavo oversee the El Eden church about an hour and a half to the north of Samborondon. Amy is also from Downey First Christian Church. She and her husband Ismael work with university students in Guayaquil. Life is good when you have people with which to be silly.
I didn’t do an Ecuador update in March. I was on a brief furlough in the States: two weeks with family in Missouri and two weeks in Downey, California. What a great time that was! (No visa issues this time!)
We celebrated my dad’s 65th birthday with family. What a great opportunity to catch up with aunts, uncles and cousins all at once! I am so thankful to have a very supportive extended family. God is so good!
I got to spend lots of time with my nephew and niece (she’s walking now!) and my mom. Time like that is so special when I live so far away. I’ve stored away so many special moments, laughter and smiles. My brother, Matt, and his wife, Ashley, are great parents and I’m so proud of them. Those children aren’t perfect angels but precious ones who are learning to love Jesus.
Also, while in Missouri I got to have lunch with Austin, who was an intern last year, and Emily and Kasey, who came on a CIY trip in 2015. They are currently students at Ozark Christian College preparing for ministry.
Back in California, I helped out a bit at the DFCC church office where Sarah is the office administrator. It was a great way to spend time together and get some things done.
I love hanging out with my sister! She’s amazing!
I also met with the DFCC mission board. Since the very beginning, when I returned from a short term mission trip in 2014 with the idea of doing an internship in Ecuador, they have encouraged and supported me every step of the way.
This was a support raising trip. Missionaries get so busy doing their job that we draw blanks when it comes to how to raise support. Enter Cheryl and Sarah with a wonderful idea of inviting friends to church members’ homes for dessert and a presentation of the work in Ecuador! They planned everything and I just had to show up and share. I’m so thankful for people who opened their homes and those who came to listen. I’m also thankful for God’s provision. I was able to raise enough commitments to reach my monthly budget goal! God continues to demonstrate his goodness and faithfulness.
Odds and Ends
Someone asked if it rains a lot during rainy season. The sidewalks on both sides of the street above are about a foot under water. So, the answer is yes.
Checks can be made out to:
IberoAmerican Ministries PO Box 1493 Monroe, WA 98272
(Please designate “Erin Shead – Ecuador” in memo line)
Or you can contribute online: iamweb.org Select field worker > E. Shead – Ecuador (Names are listed in alphabetical order of last name.)